GREENVILLE, SC — With a NCAA Tournament berth already secured even before his group completed the SWAC Tournament, head coach Mike Davis hoped to avoid the predicament the Tigers find themselves in now.
A date with a No. 1 seed North Carolina (27-7) to open up the tournament.
“Well, not really, not really, because when our name came up to play North Carolina, we got a 16 seed,” said Davis, who has taken three different schools to the NCAA Tournament. “I was hoping for a play-in game once I saw our name.”
Texas Southern (23-11) was a No. 15 seed in 2015 the last time the Tigers made the field of 68, losing to No. 2 Arizona.
This time, though TSU has the unenviable task of trying to be first-ever No. 16 seed to knock off a No. 1 seed.
It is a job, if you ask Davis, that isn’t for the faint of heart.
“We talked, everybody talked about David and Goliath, “said Davis. “What I told my basketball team, that story is a powerful story. But what people don’t realize is David was supposed to win. He was the expert. He wasn’t someone they sent out to fight and never had ever used a sling shot.
“His sling shot was like a gun, shooting a gun. And he was an expert. So Goliath was a big, old guy and he had one eye. If he got his hands on you he was going to automatically win. So as you take that story, that’s a powerful story. So don’t go into this game thinking that you’re a David if you’re not willing to prepare yourself up to this point to play at that 10 level for 40 minutes.”
Despite ESPN’s BPI giving the Tar Heels a 48 percent chance to reach the Final Four, the highest of any team in the field, Texas Southern — given a two percent chance to upend UNC — isn’t shying away from taking on the challenge.
“Honestly just taking it a possession at a time,” said Marvin Jones. “We can’t go in trying to say that we’re going to win by this much or we’re going to stop them to this point. We’re going to take each four-minute period, get it as close as possible, and just give it our all. That’s all we can do.”